The Real ROI of Social Media for Distributors
Many distributors tend to question the value of social media, thinking it’s too much effort for too little to no return.
ROI seems to be the default, catch-all question distributors have when it comes to social media looking to measure the results in a straight-line approach: How much did I sell from posting on platform X? Unless you are paying for advertising, you can't use this formula.
Social media is about networking in your blue ocean ( I'm referring to The Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim, a great book about the benefits of narrowing down your audience) In other words, to get the right people to know you, like you, and trust you.
Today's prospects and customers are active in many places at once, across many channels, both online and offline, hence the need to be visible in all those channels. As you've heard before, you need to meet your prospects where they are.
Being where your prospects are is crucial, but it's only the first step. Just like when you joined a networking group, joining and showing up once in a while won't get you any results. Before you make a sale, you need to meet people; get to know them; build relationships; and get them to know you, like you and trust you. And this takes time, effort and consistency.
The same goes for social media. Social media is the space where you can get discovered by your ideal prospects and become familiar to them so you're on their radar when they're ready to buy.
How can you achieve this?
1. Start by being clear on who your target audience is
This is mission-critical. You must define who you are after, so you can create your own blue ocean of ideal buyers.
Clarity in your target audience will lead you to know their interests, concerns and aspirations as they relate to the solutions you provide, which is critical in creating communications that will speak to them. Otherwise, your content will be too generic and will speak to no one in particular, and you'll miss your chance to stand out when your prospect comes across it on social media.
2. Be aware of your ideal prospect buyer's journey
If you were to fill a room with only your ideal prospective clients, even if they loved you, they would not all be ready to buy. Each of them would be at different stages of their buying process:
- They just started in their position and don't even know they'll be in charge of buying promotional products
- They have a closet full of merch and don't need anything at the moment
- They have an event coming up in a few months so they are starting to pay attention to products they can use
- They have a provider they're happy with, not looking to change
- Their provider has been missing the mark.
- They have an event around the corner and have not gotten around to ordering yet
- Something else
It is important to keep this in mind, because it’s the reason why you must find ways to be in front of them often in a non-pitchy way.
This is where social media comes in. It allows you to be present and visible to your ideal prospects during these stages and become known, liked and trusted.
Distributors getting business from social media are proactive in social media, being intentional and consistent in both their posts topics as well as connecting and engaging with their audience.
3. Define the purpose of social media for your business
While the ultimate goal is to increase sales, your social media efforts can help you navigate the path that will lead to it. For this to happen, you need to be clear on its purpose for your business so you can be intentional and use it effectively. Especially if you have limited resources.
I like to think of the ROI of social media as Return on Intention.
A realistic objective can be to network in your target audience's environment so you connect with lots of them.
To raise awareness of your brand and become known as an expert in your field.
To show how you provide value above and beyond the commodity.
To build relationships with your clients. Yes, your clients too.
This will result in leads and sales.
And you do that by dedicating 30 minutes of your day to be present and participate in the conversations. Just make sure to keep it real.
If you found this helpful, share it with a colleague. Also, for more free marketing articles, guides, and webinars specific to the distributor business, visit the resources section of our website, ActionMarketingCo.com.
And speaking of social media, I'd love for us to connect:
- LinkedIn: @GloriaLafont
- Linkedin: @ActionMarketing
- Instagram: @actionmarketingco
- Twitter: @actionmktingco
Gloria Lafont is a mother, grandmother and business owner. Throughout her business career she has started, bought and sold a dozen businesses in the branding and marketing field, including a distributor company. She’s currently president of Action Marketing Co., founded in 2007. Her company focuses on helping distributors increase visibility, generate awareness and drive traffic so they can connect with more of their ideal clients and generate more leads and sales.
Gloria is a big fan and supporter of education and the cultural arts, volunteering her time and donating marketing support over the years to help various organizations grow in membership and revenue. She also enjoys the South Florida lifestyle mix of business, beaches and arts.